If South Carolina must cut education funding, it should consider trimming teacher stipends for national certification and awards for the best-performing schools, according to the state's Education Oversight Committee.
It is the first time the nonpartisan group has issued such rankings. Members said they hope legislators take it as advice as they make cuts to fill a $700 million budget shortfall.
"If you've got to cut millions, why not cut things deemed of lower rank?" said Chairman Neil Robinson of Charleston.
The committee put the highest priority on money for teacher salaries and benefits: "Don't cut teacher pay. We'll lose teachers, and that doesn't make sense," Robinson said.
The state has already lost thousands of teachers to budget cuts over the past two years.